Now what? I’ve done all this reading and thinking and talking. I need to get writing.
WHERE WE’VE COME FROM
A text is a system of functional components
Tendencies in English-language texts include
A Purpose-centered, or, intention centered, organization
A pre-figuring format (declare & confirm scope)
2 activities suddenly make a LOT of sense:
“Starting in the middle” based on a “provisional” intention & scope
And for some writers, starting in a state of chaos with the trust that the chaos will be gradually put into order by some sane, manageable, process
This suggests some new tendencies to add to our list:
A preference for order (over chaos or randomness)
A possible division between composition order and text order in the finished product.
THE MONSTER UNDER THE BED
We’re dancing around a few issues, too:
What happens to a writing project when you add a “research” element?
What happens to a writing project when you add the concept of “correctness” to the conversation?
What happens to a writing project when you have a deadline?
STARTING IN THE MIDDLE
Organizing and classifying details
Testing all of the above, mentally, as relevant to intention & scope
If not, either
Get other details
Get a different intention or scope
We are simultaneously seeking to understand some body of knowledge and our own thoughts and feelings about that knowledge
STARTING IN A STATE OF CHAOS
Getting words out of your head and onto a page or screen
Getting suggestions for how to organize and classify what comes out
Suspending worry about “how it sounds” or “how it looks” until a primitive shape starts to emerge!
Engaging with an ordering process about which you feel some ownership
Review the genre requirements
Try to see your “chaos” as legitimate building-blocks - ideas in the rough
Reconsider scope (what is and what is not your subject matter)
All texts begin and end for the reader, but that does not mean that you have to start the composition process by writing “the beginning. In fact, don’t.
PACING YOUR READER
Stuck for a conclusion?
Maybe you’ve already written it… but more likely, remember:
It’s not enough to declare your scope. You have to confirm it.
You confirm it gradually, recursively, several times, including “at the end”
If your conclusion feels lame, then you probably gave away too much at the beginning. Move things around to keep your reader hungry.
If you’re still not writing, try chaos followed by working your way out from the middle.
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